Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Conquering my Nemesis

First of all thank you to all of you who have left comments and sent emails about 'Lord of the Flies'  I think the general consensus has been that many of us had to read it and not many of us particularly had a hankering for reading it again.  Some even had to write a piece or discuss it's symbolism.  Gail, from Amongst the Wool, could even remember having to write a piece of work which was then shown to the rest of her class which apparently from her own words did not happen often so that's why it was so memorable.  

Having read this particular book some 35 years ago and absolutely detesting it at the time I thought it better to get this one out of the way at the beginning of my challenge. I was secretly hoping that my memory of it had been wrong and that I would really love it second time around.  All I could remember was that it involved a plane crash and a number of young boys finding themselves on a deserted island with no grown ups to look after them and the only other inhabitants being pigs. Oh and that at some stage a pigs head was put on stick and was known as the Lord of the Flies. 

I'm sure at the time I was supposed to realise the symbolic meaning behind the story of  working as a team, looking out for each other, independence &  leadership, but as a 15 year old girl a book about a lot of little boys running riot on a deserted island just didn't have much of a meaning at all. 

Still I decided I would go into this with an open mind and read it as though I had never read it before. Overall it was exactly as I had expected a lot of little boys running round on a deserted island.  It started off pretty well the plane had crashed and initially they had to establish how many of them there were and they came up with a plan of who would be responsible for what jobs, i.e. collecting wood for a fire and looking for food.  They soon established that there were pigs on the island that could provide them with a source of food and built themselves shelters to protect themselves.  But soon two characters especially became adversaries and tensions grew.  'Lord of the Flies'  is a pigs head that is left on a stick and is referred to maybe twice within the book  and not until about chapter 8 and really didn't have much relevance to the story. What I hadn't remembered was how much bullying and violence was included within it which ultimately lead to murder.  The rivalry between Ralph and Jack reaches a climax and leaves Ralph running for his life.  Had the Navy not seen the smoke of their fire and come to the island on a rescue mission Ralph too would of met his demise. 

Piggy & Ralph

Simon  & 'The Lord of the Flies'
Jack's tribe

Having read the book for a second time D also found the original film from 1963 on YouTube and suggested I should  watch it in order to get a complete picture.  The film stayed very true to the book and the script was more or less word for word of the William Golding's novel. 

So where does this leave me after all of that.  Well I read it again in order to have a totally unbiased opinion, which may have been clouded from a long and distant memory of 35 years ago. I can now appreciate the authors work and it's meaning but with such bullying and violence contained within it's pages I am a little surprised  that we still inflict it upon our young people especially as we spend all our time telling them that violence is not the answer.  I am glad that I revisited this particular childhood read but I don't think it will be one to keep on the book shelf as I can't see me getting a hankering for reading it again in another 35 years.  

All that remains now is for me to decide which book to pick for March..  

I am so loving this challenge.



  1. I'm glad you got something out of reading it again. I remembered that their mock-society gradually falls apart, but not the depth of violence that you describe. I'm a little curious now, maybe I'll have to reread it too at some point. Maybe treat yourself to something more cheerful in March ;)

    1. The only character I had remembered was Piggy but I hadn't remembered much of the content of the novel so did get a few surprises along the way. Not sure what I will go for in March might have to put all the names of the books in a hat and pick one out but still I have got the one I was dreading out of the way and it wasn't as bad as I had expected but I can see why I didn't like it first time around having read it again. Funny how our views change as we get older.

  2. I'm glad that the books I had to study at school were more enjoyable, I don't think I'd have liked this one.

    1. It was definitely the one I wasn't looking forward to and I'm glad I got it out the way early on. The writing was very good just the storyline was not for me. I have lots more on my list that I will enjoy. A copy of Mice & Men arrived yesterday which I know you have read with Eleanor.